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141. PersonalHistory
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142. Tales of a Female Nomad : Living
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143. The Intimate World of Abraham
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144. Falling Leaves : The Memoir of
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145. A Walk on the Beach : Tales of
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160. Autobiography of a Fat Bride :

141. PersonalHistory
by KATHARINE GRAHAM
list price: $40.00
our price: $26.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394585852
Catlog: Book (1997-02-03)
Publisher: Knopf
Sales Rank: 128704
Average Customer Review: 4.12 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (113)

5-0 out of 5 stars She did live an amazing life
I'm so glad that I found this book. It was like reading a history book that was both nurturing and fun. Through Personal History, Graham proved herself to be a wonderful writer and a person.

She was born to a wealthy family, married to a brilliant man, and later in her life, became one of the most powerful persons in Washington and in journalism. Katharine Graham indeed was a living history.

Katharine Graham was well- born and intellectual, which led her to meet some of the most important and famous people in the world. These include the Presidents of the US, leaders of the world, and people who shaped Washington like herself. Some people, like my husband, say this book is all about name dropping, but I totally don't agree with them. The people Graham mentions in the book are not just ordinary people; a lot of these people are mentioned in other people's biographies and major newspapers.

Even though Katharine Graham was named one of the most powerful persons in the world, she portrays herself in the most humblist way. Personal History is written in the most detailed and humorous way, so I felt as though I didn't miss much of her life story at all. It was overall very easy reading. She describes the vital events and the people she met during her life time in detail and with her total memory.

I learned a lot about the journalism and the Watergate incident from reading this book, and agree that this book deserves Pulitzer Prize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Katie, We Hardly Knew Ye...
Few passings have effected me in the manner in which Ms. Graham's did and I went back to my audiotape of her book to revisit the life of the most powerful woman in American journalism. There are so many reviews, it seemed silly to add another, but loyalty drove me to add my two cents. Born to wealth, shy and reserved by choice, controlled by marriage and the societal pressures of the day, this woman broke out of the preset mold after the long mental illness and eventual suicide of her husband to take the Washington Post to the people and to the Fortune 500 list. She gave the order to run with the Watergate story, to publish the Pentagon Papers, and lived through the pressman's strike. I reveled in her story as read by the woman herself. I cried when her voice broke as she retold the death of her life partner and her regrets about her sometimes limited parenting skills. Katharine Graham crows about her successes and openly admits her failings. Not the usual celebrity self worship and well worth hearing. I'll miss you, Katie.

4-0 out of 5 stars A BUTTERFLY SPREADS HER WINGS
Today I finished Personal History by Katharine Graham, longtime publisher of the Washington Post.

It's interesting, because Kay Graham is such a legendary figure in Washington, lauded for having stuck it out as the only woman in a man's world (business executives in the 60s/70s/80s).

But yet, she is not the steadfast person that everyone believes her to be. She has to deal with a husband with manic depression, and his eventual suicide. Her one son volunteers for Vietnam, the other gets arrested for protesting it.

She basically suddenly finds herself CEO after Phil (Graham's) death, and almost drowns under the pressure, but somehow manages to stick it through. Even when she does the right thing, she often second guesses herself and is extremely sensitive to criticism.

The book seems to unfold as a butterfly emerges from a cocoon; at first she can hide behind her father and then her husband, but eventually must learn to make things fly on her own.

Towards the end it gets more business-y, with some CEO jargon and discussions about the Post company. I thought it was kind of boring how she seemed to name every single person she ever hired or fired.

But some parts are really interesting. Especially the bits about her childhood, the Pentagon Papers, and Watergate.

I would really recommend this book as a good read. Kay Graham is like Forrest Gump- she's done a little of everything.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
This is a very personal autobiography of Katharine Graham, one of the most influential women of the Twentieth Century. Graham begins her story with the tale of how her parents met at an art exhibition, and relates the events of her early childhood. She explains how her father came to purchase the Washington Post, and how she alone amongst her siblings was truly drawn to the paper from her teenage years. She goes on to describe dating and eventually marrying Phil Graham, and how her father came to pass the management of the newspaper on to him. Later, she details Graham's descent into mental illness leading to his suicide, and how it finally fell onto her shoulders to lead the paper. Her most fascinating stories, however, come from her tenure as publisher of the Post, covering the turbulent period from the release of the Pentagon Papers, to the uncovering of the Watergate scandal and to the lengthy pressmen's strike against the Post in the 1970s.

The story is indeed a personal one, in which Graham documents events from her own point of view. As I read this book, I was constantly aware that Graham may have chosen to leave out some details and emphasize others in order to show herself in the best light. But since this is an autobiography, such a subjective account is perfectly reasonable. This is history as Graham would have it told.

5-0 out of 5 stars Helped me view historical incidents differently
Enjoyed the taped version of PERSONAL HISTORY by Katharine
Graham . . . this is the story of how she struggled to make the
WASHINGTON PRESS a success . . . her recollections of the
Pentagon Papers and Watergate helped me see these incidents
from a different perspective . . . but I was most moved by her
account of Phil Graham, her husband and lifelong partner in the
newspaper business . . . his plunge into manic-depression
and eventual suicide were made even more touching by his wife's
excellent job of narration.

I also liked what Katharine Graham had to say at the book's conclusion
about there being "some positives about being old" . . . namely:

Worry, if not gone, no longer haunts you in the middle of the night; and

You are free or freer to turn down the things that bore you and [able to]
spend time on matters and with people that you enjoy. ... Read more


142. Tales of a Female Nomad : Living at Large in the World
by RITA GOLDEN GELMAN
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0609809547
Catlog: Book (2002-05-28)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 4861
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

“I move throughout the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities.” —From the Preface

Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of Rita Golden Gelman, an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in cultures all over the world. In 1986 she sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.
... Read more

Reviews (50)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a must read for summer and a must to pass on to all!
I absolutely loved this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who has an appreciation for travelling and the lessons one can learn about themselves from such experiences. Rita's travels and lifestyle change left me in complete awe and filled me with absolute admiration for the guts, courage, and trust that were required of her. This book will not only inspire the reader to embark on travels of his/her own, but will cause some much needed introspection into the routines that so many of us lead in our daily lives. This book serves as a shot in the arm to get out and experience life, others, and other places.

In the book, Rita allows the reader to vicariously experience her life with her. The reader cannot help but feel as if Rita Gelman is a good friend by the last page. And once the book is over it is hard to stop thinking about the incredible adventures and gutsy lady that comprise Rita Gelman.

Definitely read this book and check out some of her great children's books while you're at it. Rita is a true jewel and anyone who loves to read should be reading her books.

I look forward to future books and the book tour!

5-0 out of 5 stars RUN TO THE BOOKSTORE, RUN TO THE BOOKSTORE.
I loved this book, and I'm not alone. I picked this book for our book club, and everyone loved it. I was in awe of the author for her courage, stamina, and her basic love of humans. Rita Gelman will take you along on her adventures you will travel to Mexico,, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Israel, Galapagos Islands, Indonesia,New Zealand, Thailand and the United States. You become part of the adventure with each chapter. You will be surprised, you will laugh, you will cry, and you will admire and be astounded that this woman could do this on her own. I hope every man and woman could read this book to not only learn about other cultures, but to reach inside your souls to make this world a better place.

1-0 out of 5 stars Innocence Abroad
Our book club read this book and not one person liked it. From the very first paragraph in which she questions why someone like her, leading such a star-studded life, could possibly be unhappy or unfulfilled, I took an instant dislike to her.
She undertakes her travels with a cluelessness that is truly astounding in a reasonably sophisticated person of mature years. The bit about her sitting around in the lobbies of the better hotels hoping that someone will invite her to dine with them is truly pathetic. Oh! There's a whole group of back-
packers who travel in foreign countries! Who knew?
The descriptions of her wandering around in the Zapotec villiage were just sad. Why don't people speak to her? It must be her blue eyes! She reasons that if she wears sunglasses, it might not be a problem, but alas this turns out to be no solution. Oh, but all the discomfort and tedium is swept away when all the women assemble to make a meal! Instant bonding! This book is rife with cliches. Her skin condition?...why, of course, it represents the shedding of her old life (skin)!
I'll confess I couldn't finish it. A truly terrible book, poorly written but a really annoying, self-absorbed author. Lets just hope I don't run into her on my own travels.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read the Dream!
I read this book a few months ago and still find myself drifting off and thinking about it quite often. It was an excellent book, but I must warn that it is a dangerous read if you have a bit of wanderlust in you (and I definitely do!)That said, it is an amazing book that I would highly recommend!

Rita takes us along with her over several years as she travels through many different countries. She writes very honestly and is a very interesting woman to get to know along the way. It is nice to read because she is an older woman that rediscovers a new way of life after a divorce. I travelled around the world as a backpacker and mostly encountered other people in their early 20s, so it is nice to get a perspective from an older woman, and also refreshing to know that it is never too late!

Rita has a website that you can check out first to figure out if she is someone that you would be interested in reading a book about. I really enjoyed this book and definitely think it is worth reading! For me, it was an amazing way to read about the lifestyle that I can only dream about now! It definitely has made me think (quite often) about quitting my job, writing a book, and traveling around the world!

2-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring but annoying
This book started with a great title and premise, but then goes downhill from there. As one who spends a significant amount of time daydreaming about "leaving it all behind", I was anxious to hear what promised to be an exciting account of her new life, but the book disappointed me.

I enjoyed the first third of the book as she begins her life-changing experience, but found her personally annoying by the end. Perhaps my dislike of her is politically based, but I quickly grew tired of her self-righteous, understander of all peoples, angry at America attitude. Where initially I saw her as a courageous woman dealing with a dramatic life-changing event, by the end she came across as a somewhat bitter, nearly unstable expat. Please just more objective descriptions of your unique experiences and less left-leaning ranting. It was hard to finish.

If you're not bothered by the politics of the author, this book does provide an interesting account of a variety of experiences. ... Read more


143. The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
by C.A. Tripp
list price: $27.00
our price: $17.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743266390
Catlog: Book (2005-01-11)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 116835
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144. Falling Leaves : The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter
by ADELINE YEN MAH
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767903579
Catlog: Book (1999-04-06)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 21048
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Born in 1937 in a port city a thousand miles north of Shanghai, Adeline Yen Mah was the youngest child of an affluent Chinese family who enjoyed rare privileges during a time of political and cultural upheaval. But wealth and position could not shield Adeline from a childhood of appalling emotional abuse at the hands of a cruel and manipulative Eurasian stepmother. Determined to survive through her enduring faith in family unity, Adeline struggled for independence as she moved from Hong Kong to England and eventually to the United States to become a physician and writer.

A compelling, painful, and ultimately triumphant story of a girl's journey into adulthood, Adeline's story is a testament to the most basic of human needs: acceptance, love, and understanding. With a powerful voice that speaks of the harsh realities of growing up female in a family and society that kept girls in emotional chains, Falling Leaves is a work of heartfelt intimacy and a rare authentic portrait of twentieth-century China. ... Read more

Reviews (286)

5-0 out of 5 stars Falling Leaves: Book Review
Adeline Yen Mah begins her autobiography with the events leading up to her life that would eventually have an effect on either herself or her family. She painted a vivid picture as to the historical background of China, before beginning the story of her life. The events preceding Communism, which she depicted, helped one to gain a greater understanding of her life story and the effects of Communism on the Chinese. From here Adeline went on to explain her life story.

Being the youngest child, a girl, and having her mother die when she was born basically made Adeline an outcast and unwanted child to her father and her step-mom, Niang. Despite the oppression she faced from her family, Adeline became a physician in America. The heart-wrenching autobiography, Falling Leaves, evoked more emotions from me than any other book I have read in my life.

Adeline's stories were described with such emotion that would make one sympathize with her situation. For example, in one scene Adeline had been elected class president, in order to celebrate her feat her friends secretly followed her home. The family maid admitted Adeline's peers into her home. The party ended abruptly when Niang summoned Adeline to her room and began to demand Adeline to admit that she had invited her classmates over so they could see their fancy home. Adeline was being falsely accused and refused to admit to these accusations. Niang, in response, began to slap Adeline, until her nose began to bleed. The whole book overflows with emotion, however although a large portion of the emotions are focused on Niang's malevolence the feelings are not of hatred and vengeance, but rather of worry about what she can do better to please Niang. Adeline is a respectable person who could be considered a role model, because no matter how much hate and inequality was turned loose on her she would always be forgiving and strive even harder to please people. Her forgiving attitude reminded me of a young girl, Anne Frank, who also faced oppression throughout her childhood, as she stated, "It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet, I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." Adeline seemed to live by this quote. Upon reading her autobiography the reader can learn a great deal about life and one's attitude towards the world.

4-0 out of 5 stars _FALLEN LEAVES: THE MEMOIR OF AN UNWANTED CHINESE DAUGHTER_
Adeline Yen Mah's, _Fallen Leaves: _The Memoirs of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter_... is an incredible story. _Fallen Leaves_, would be a perfect book for adults who are very interested in the Chinese culture. However, teenagers with an interest in different cultures would also be able to appreciate the difficult life Adeline Yen Mah encountered. I would not recommend _Fallen Leaves_ for sensitive or extremely emotional adults.

_Fallen Leaves_ was written in chapters. Each chapter includes another extraordinary tale of Adeline Yen Mah's life. Throughout the story, Adeline Yen Mah describes what it was like growing up in an unwanted family. Her mother passed away after giving birth to her and her family blamed and recented Adeline for her mother's death. Later, her father remarried. Adeline's step mother was controlling and emotionally abusive towards her. Her parents eventually sent her away to boarding school. Adeline Yen Mah was so unloved that people at the boarding school just assumed that she was an orphan. The story may seem, at this point, incredibly depressing but there was hope for little Adeline. Her one true positive feminine role model was her Aunt Baba. Adeline's Aunt loved her and helped her overcome the hatred and abuse from her childhood. Remarkably, with strength from her Aunt Baba, Adeline Yen Mah was able to become a physician and a writer. If that is not strength and determination, then I don't know what is.

The one problem that I encountered with _Fallen Leaves_ was not knowing the exact order of events taking place. Although Adeline Yen Mah attempts to stay in chronological order, I often find my self having to look back at the chapters to determine when exactly an event was taking place.

Overall, I enjoyed reading _Fallen Leaves_, by Adeline Yen Mah. The book was extremely inspiring and interesting at the same time. Reading _Fallen Leaves_ has given me a much greater appreciation for my parents love and respect....

4-0 out of 5 stars Darkness and light
The writing is not spectacular: Mah after all is a doctor, not an author. But the, episodic narrative, while plain, is well written.

This book presents the story of a girl who endured unbelievable cruelty at the hands of her father, siblings, and most especially, stepmother, and yet grew up to be a kind and forgiving woman.

The enormity of Mah's stepmother's cruelty left me in shock at times. "How could someone be that emotionally abusive?" I thought. How could any child grow up to be a well-adjusted adult when she was forbidden to go to visit the few friends she had, or to invite them to her home; when she was dropped off at an orphanage as punishment for some triviality; when her rich parents suggested she go to a bank to get a loan so she could afford to buy a plane ticket to the States, where she had a job waiting for her. These are just a few of the many examples that come to mind as I type this. Mah 's stepmother was, in short, pathologically cruel.

And yet, as if to disprove all the nurture advocates in the nature/nurture debate, Mah grew up to be a forgiving, generous woman. As she reached financial security as an anesthesiologist, she used her money to help her siblings (and their children), though they'd done nothing but torment her for most of their lives.

"Falling Leaves" is a example of how good people are simply good people, no matter how society treats them, and that evil people can be unbelievably dark.

4-0 out of 5 stars Importance of Family
Adeline was born into a family that did not want her. Her mother dies two weeks after she was born. Afterwards, her father then marries a seventeen year old beauty named Jeanne and treats her like a queen. All of the children's names were changed. Sadly, soon enough Adeline was sent away to school wishing for so much more than she had. The novel had a very big impact on me.

In the beginning of the novel i was grasped in. I fell deep into the depressing words of Adeline. Her strive for a family that would love her made me want to read more. The suspense had me wondering what was going to happen next. As i read more, it got better and better.

I did not dislike anything about this novel. I would not stop reading until i got to the end. This book was very heartwarming to me and made me think about how important my family is. It will make you think of your closest to you and what they are doing at that exact moment. In Conclusion I recommmend this book to anyone who enjoys reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars It was kind of neat
My opinion of this book was that it was alittle alright if you love to cry. But then many parts of it seemed to be alittle to farfetched. Like how she cried because all she cared about was to be accepted by her father when she lost everything. Even though that is the right thing, she acted alittle to "good" and it was just annoying. She wouldn't admit that she was actually hurt that she didn't get that ownership to what her father had left her. But then she could've been AT least telling us that she wanted those things.

But then what I had just said was a bit too mean. But sort of true. Plus the fact that if you read this book you would JUST have to give sympathy to her and her childhood. For since she had been through something so rough and hard that you could not believe it. Awesome. Just simply. Awesome. ... Read more


145. A Walk on the Beach : Tales of Wisdom From an Unconventional Woman
by JOAN ANDERSON
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767914740
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Broadway
Sales Rank: 5093
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars The divine trinity...
While A Walk On The Beach represents the final part of a divine trinity of books, the internal divine trinity is the coming together of the two Joans in the presence of the Sea - which has always been a metaphor for Consciousness, the Womb of the Great Mother.

Joan Anderson is a great observer of Life and the human experience, and her ablity to articulate the way people think and feel, especially in the context of relationships, of all kinds, is unsurpassed.

That she should meet Erikson's wife in a beach/seashore setting, especially in Cape Cod, Mass, in magical New England, the virtual birthplace of what is now the United States, is most interesting - the seashore also being a symbolic point of transition for a mermaid/siren figure seeking transformation into mortal womanhood, as in The Girl In A Swing, by Richard Adams (also an excellent movie).

With the two Joans, the transformation is mutual, as these wisewomen unfold their lives in quite different marital circumstances.

For the record, Erikson the psychologist extended Freudian theory by factoring in the effects of culture and environment to the stages of human development rather than merely biological influences. To Erikson, development was a lifelong process. The main criticisms of this work focused on his gender and ethnocentric bias. The later, Third Wave psychology of Maslow and after, addressed the individual's relationship to the Universe itself, rather than the experiential layer generated by society.

Joan Erikson herself continued to expand on the work she had done with her husband with her own hands-on experience of old age (she was 90 when the Joans met), and Joan A was able to benefit from this wisdom first hand. Similarly, she was able to help Joan Erikson with her own major life adjustments, including the impending death of a Life partner, by sharing her own growth lessons as she re-structured her thinking as she moved into the second stage of her life.

I can see why some people regard this as 'a woman's book', (I disagree, it's a thinking PERSON'S book) but as a man with four daughters who has published a book about the suppression of the Feminine, I found it intriguing. The beautiful interactions between these two remarkable unfinished women reminds you that menopause and after is supposed to be a sacred transition, not a form of mental illness, as we have been programmed to believe.

Invaluable.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Walk Worth Taking
Anderson's latest literary work is one of her best to date. Full of imagery, humor, and wisdom, A Walk on the Beach will touch your senses and awaken your true self in ways you thought might not happen. As her mentor, Joan Erikson reminded the author, the importance of continuing to learn, grow, change and play as one ages, as well as to be surprised by life and where it leads are the keys to a fulfilling and enriching life. Not just for women, it is a book for all who struggle at times with thoughts and feelings of purpose and significance.

Also recommended: Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson An Unfinished Marriage by Joan Anderson Wisdom and the Senses: The Way of Creativity by Joan M. Erikson

5-0 out of 5 stars The need for mentors
In an era of quick-fix motivational workshops and buzz words like "Life Coaching", this wise and soothing book stands as a strong reminder that we need SO MUCH MORE than weekend workshops and spiritual retreats to regain our balance or redirect our life's course. We need real mentors and ongoing friendships with seasoned women who can show us the way.

At some point in midlife, many women (and men) experience a career crisis or crisis of faith, and are desperately in need of guidance. Joan Anderson was lucky enough to find an incredible mentor to show the way, demonstrating how "elderly" friends are essential to our growth.

I believe many of us remain stuck with only peer relationships, and don't take time to seek out the untapped wisdom of older people in our communities and congregations. Joan's book is a marvelous blueprint for anyone who craves companionship with the older and wiser -- or women of experience.

As we read this sweet book, we are also called to treasure -- or initiate -- friendships with real women of experience in our midst. Thank you, Joan!

5-0 out of 5 stars Journey for Seekers.......
From the stranger on the shore to becoming the beloved mentor, JOAN ERIKSON, is the driving force that allows Joan Anderson to truly push the boundaries further from the traditional role she played, to unveiling the "unconventional woman" that Joan is today.

The book is perhaps a tribute and "thank you" to her playful and witty friend who helped Joan weave her way and; in turn, provide the gift of "unconventional wisdom" that she received ~ to women curious enough to seek. Joan's writings are always enticing, and she continues to expose her frailties, as well as her triumphs, in "A Walk on the Beach."

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!
I just finished this book, and found myself slowing down as I reached the final chapter, not wanting it to end. But of course a work such as this never ends, as I have all the beauty and wisdom I derived from it to nourish and guide me. I have loved all of Joan's books, but this one by far was the most personal for me. ... Read more


146. Without Reservations : The Travels of an Independent Woman
by ALICE STEINBACH
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375758453
Catlog: Book (2002-03)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 7097
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description


Paris

Dear Alice,

Each morning I am awakened by the sound of a tinkling bell. A cheerful sound, it reminds me of the bells that shopkeepers attach to their doors at Christmastime. In this case, the bell marks the opening of the hotel door. From my room, which is just off the winding staircase, I can hear it clearly. It reminds me of the bell that calls to worship the novice embarking on a new life. In a way I too am a novice, leaving, temporarily, one life for another.

Love,
Alice


In the tradition of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea and Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, in Without Reservations we take time off with Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Steinbach as she explores the world and rediscovers what it means to be a woman on her own.

"In many ways, I was an independent woman," writes Alice Steinbach, a single working mother, in this captivating book. "For years I'd made my own choices, paid my own bills, shoveled my own snow, and had relationships that allowed for a lot of freedom on both sides." Slowly, however, she saw that she had become quite dependent in another way:"I had fallen into the habit . . . of defining myself in terms of who I was to other people and what they expected of me." Who am I, she wanted to know, away from the things that define me--my family, children, job, friends? Steinbach searches for the answer to this provocative question in some of the most exciting places in the world: Paris, where she finds a soul mate in a Japanese man; Oxford, where she takes a course on the English village; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards Steinbach wrote home to herself to preserve her spontaneous impressions, this revealing and witty book will transport readers instantly into a fascinating inner and outer journey, an unforgettable voyage of discovery.
... Read more

Reviews (60)

3-0 out of 5 stars good not great
I think my main problem with Without Reservations was that I was expecting something else. I looked forward to the author's detailed travelogues of Venice, Paris, and Oxford, to see these places through her alleged journalistic penchant for detail. When she describes that she has no experience in traveling abroad, I expected a tale about her foibles and discoveries about the different cultures where she planned to reside. What I found was that Steinbach DOES have reservations -- about her self-esteem, about her place in the world, of her sense of self, of how others define her and how she defines herself. I think the disappointment came from my hoping for a travelogue where the focus is on art, culture and external experiences. Still -- as the book progresses she relaxes more and more into her own skin and she learns how to let go, stop deliberating over every move and just go with whatever life has in store for her. Her physical travels begin to parallel her journey of self-awareness and confidence. The more far-out she perceives an event to be, the more she loosens up to have fun and find out about herself and who she is, from a love affair with a Japanese gentleman to developing unexpected and immediate friendships to dancing all night with her Oxford classmates. Maybe my incessant reading of travel books and cookie-cutter expectations put a damper on my total enjoyment of Steinbach's book. I found it interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking for a straight-forward detailed travel memoir.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read
Having heard about Steinbach's book on public radio, and being a divorced mother of a grown son, with my own love of travel, and some experience traveling on my own, I was anxious to find out how the author's experiences compared to my own. I got so much more than I had expected, and was sorry to have the book end. "Without Reservations" is non-fiction but reads like a novel in many ways. She is a fine story teller, and her descriptions of all that she observed in her travels, (from the distinctive and unpredictable rooms she rented in small European hotels, to the views of an amazing Italian countryside, as well as the wide array of interesting, yet unexpected short-term relationships she developed along the way) were vivid and very entertaining. I would have liked a little follow-up regarding her life since her travels which took place back in 1993, but this is a minor complaint. I highly recommend this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational Woman of Independence and Adventure
I purchased "Without Reservations" after returning home from a quick trip to Europe. You see I had left my heart there and I needed a quick fix while pining away at home waiting for yet another friend to venture out and dare get a passport.

Alice Steinbach writes with a capturing style about her adventures abroad (England, Paris, Italy etc..) all alone. For once a woman who believes in experience over fear! She is a mother, divorced, successful and still desiring a fulfilling life. I admire her spirit and enthusiasm for life. While capturing her inner fears she relies on her wit and knowledge to overcome what would leave most of us sitting at home cowering in a corner.

Ms. Steinbach meets interesting people along the way, a fashionable older woman in Paris, a Japanese man who shares her love of Monet, a young student eager to grow and many others. She inspires one to want to reach out and learn something from the others around us, not for gossip, but for true wealth of character. I believe after reading this book I will no longer seek the security of familar travel partners but instead search for a lesser known commodity, me, a suitcase, a destination and a dream! Sounds exciting to me!

5-0 out of 5 stars Carpe Diem
Who doesn't dream of quitting her job and traveling the world? Alice Steinbach wangles a leave of absence from her job and goes to Europe -- the dream with training wheels. Even though she has the security of knowing her home and job are waiting for her and she goes to countries that are comfortably strange, it is still a big leap for her. She makes the most of it and tells a great story.

Steinbach seems to make friends everywhere she goes. She travels with the attitude of a college student backpacking through Europe, hooking up with temporary friends at each stop. She treats her affair with Naohiro like a summer romance, intense, but sure to be temporary. Sometimes you forget that she is a middle-aged woman with two grown sons and a responsible career back home.

And that is the point. She wants to see who she is when the responsibilities of adulthood are stripped away. Is the young woman who wasn't afraid to take chances still there somewhere? Who is Alice Steinbach when she is not defined as "mother" and "reporter"? In nine months of travels through Paris, Britain, and Italy, she gradually sheds her inhibitions and fears, and gets reacquainted with living for the day.

Without Reservations is an upbeat, sometimes bittersweet, narrative of what feels like a prelude to a bigger leap. I am looking forward to her next book, Educating Alice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully layered tale of travel and life
I just finished this book and will miss spending time following Ms. Steinbach around on her travels,reading her musings on her life and the world around her. It is a book that will resonate with women who have empty nest. I completely identified with her; having 2 sons myself, 2 cats and terminal wanderlust. She writes so eloquently of how she feels when her children are grown and independant. It's her personal journey to find out how she fits into this new life-without-children. She christens it by taking time off to travel for 9 months alone to discover, who she is, was and who she will become. Even though most people will not be able to do as she did, it does not affect the enjoyment of the book. It is written in a very warm style and you will end the book wishing that in your travels, you will bump into her. ... Read more


147. Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect Women
by LIZ CURTIS HIGGS
list price: $13.99
our price: $10.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578561264
Catlog: Book (2000-09-19)
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Sales Rank: 36906
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When it Comes to Badness, There's Nothing New Under the Sun

In her best-selling book Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz Curtis Higgs breathed new life into ancient stories depicting eight of the most infamous women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Delilah. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, Bad Girls already has helped thousands of women experience God's grace anew by learning more about our nefarious sisters.

And there are more where they came from! With Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Liz reveals the power of God's sovereignty in the lives of other shady ladies we know by reputation but have rarely studied in depth: Bathsheba, the bathing beauty. Jael, the tent-peg-toting warrior princess. Herodias, the horrible beheader. Tamar, the widow and not-so-timid temptress. Athaliah, the deadly daughter of Jezebel. And three ancient women whose names we do not know but who have much to teach us: the ashamed Adulteress, the bewitching Medium of En Dor, and the desperate Bleeding Woman.

The eye-opening stories of these eight "Really Bad" women demonstrate one really life-changing concept: the sovereign power of God to rule our hearts and our lives with grace, compassion, and hope.
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A witty and insightful look at the Bible's "bad girls"
This book is just as good, and maybe even better, than its predecessor, "Bad Girls of the Bible." In "Really Bad Girls", Liz Curtis Higgs follows the same format and conveys the same message as the first. She brings the reader's attention to often-overlooked women in the Bible, such as Jael, Athalia, and the Medium of En-Dor (no, not the planet the Ewoks live on!). She brings these "bad girls" to life and makes their stories relevent to today's women through modern-retelling of the stories. At the end of each study, she tells us what we can learn from them and that, most of all, God will forgive us and love us no matter what.

Her "Bad Girls" books have really caught on like wildfire in the Christian community, and no doubt have captured the hearts of many non-Christians as well. Her books are different and edgy, which is just what the Christian literary community needs. As a reformed "bad girl" herself, Liz speaks as somebody who has been through it all and lived to tell about it. She welcomes every woman, no matter what her background, with open arms and an open heart. Even if you don't really consider yourself a "Christian", you will be completely won over by her books and message. Actually, I believe she wrote her books as much for those outside the Christian community as those within it.

I was so touched by her books that I emailed Liz herself telling her what a difference they made in my life. She sent an encouraging, heart-felt message back, which totally made my day! How many authors out there will do that? Liz is definitely one-of-a-kind!

5-0 out of 5 stars Hot Romance Novel
The stories in here are so hot, you'll be running to your husband or partner after reading this book. Now I understand why people read Christian books; this is a romance novel under the disguise of a morality book. Read on, sisters! This book is a lot of fun!

5-0 out of 5 stars noone is perfect!
This was the frist book by Liz that I had ever read. WOW! Her funny style of writing catured my attention and then the reality of how much God's love can over comes EVERYTHING in our pitiful little lives. Althought the women in this book were far from perfect, Liz shows that God can use anyone's life if they just call upon the name of the Lord. I recommend this book to make you laugh and to draw you nearer to the Lord.

5-0 out of 5 stars You can't put this one down either!
Liz did it again. Every bit as engaging as the first Bad Girls book. You've just got to love the way Liz deftly chauffers you over the highways of "Bad-dom" and ends up pulling your car right into the driveway of grace. Wonderful! --Lisa Samson, author of The Church Ladies

5-0 out of 5 stars Bad Girls part 2
Liz really out did herself with this book. I could hardly put it down. Since these bad girls were less familiar, it made me get into the Bible and study the word more. Because the Bible focuses on men so much, it is nice to realize that women were in there. There is so much we can learn from these Bad women. I am finished with this book and need Liz to write another one. I have bought numerous copies of this one and the first bad girls for my friends and family. I highly recommended this book to any one at any stage in their Christian walk. It will cause you to grow. ... Read more


148. Travels With Lizbeth
by Lars Eighner
list price: $19.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312099266
Catlog: Book (1993-10-01)
Publisher: St Martins Pr
Sales Rank: 727989
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Remarkable . . . irresistibly funny." The New Yorker
The true story of a modern Robinson Crusoe and Huckleberry Finn, a homeless man and his erstwhile companion, a dog named Lizbeth, and their unbelievable, funny and poignant adventures on the road and on the streets.
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Reviews (14)

4-0 out of 5 stars A suprisingly engaging account of homelessness
I don't often read non-fiction, but I was enchanted by Travels with Lizbeth by Lars Eighner. It's about three years in the life of a homeless man and his dog. Before being on the streets he was a writer/mental health worker (he wrote gay porn, among other things, to make money). His style is really remarkable-mannered and wry. It's as though he were educated at Oxford and one day found himself on the streets of Austin, TX without any prospects to speak of. His adventures are poignant, funny, tragic, and even occasionally sexy. You'll walk away with an appreciation for a category of homelessness, the situationally homeless, that often gets overlooked. We're always quick to categorize people on the streets as either: substance abusers, mentally ill, or simply homeless by choice. But some people just lose it. Eighner loses it, but ultimately makes the most of it. When I finished the book, I just wanted to send him money in case his luck had changed again.

5-0 out of 5 stars an entertaining, informative read
I live in Austin and so I am familiar with a lot of the places mentioned in the book. Austin is currently (and was becoming at the time of publication) an economically prosperous city with it's much touted high-tec industries and growing affluence. Of course not everyone benefits from the growing economy and this book shows that there are some that do not benefit at all. The experiences of living on the streets of Austin and the southwest with a dog are told with great humor and wit. The fact that this book is very well written suggests that Lars Eighner doesn't fit the usual homeless stereotype of being ignorant, uneducated and useless to society. In fact in the book Eighner mentions having regular job before his circumstances changed. It does make one wonder how many other people are out there who go through similar experiences in life. anyway, this book is definitely worth a read.

4-0 out of 5 stars home is where the dog is
Engaging and largely unsentimental account of being one of the itenerant homeless, with the added complication of having a dog. The author does not anthropomorphize Lizbeth which is the best decision he could make. Rather than a heartwarming story straight out of "Touched by An Angel" we get a complex picture of his world: the various hitchhikers, Good Samaritans, petty bureacrats and lost souls who, through reasons besides simple irresponsiblity, happen to find themselves on the streets. Luckily, the chronicle has a happy ending, but it feels earned and not fake.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the great memoirs
This is one of my favorite memoirs. It reads less like an autobiography than a collection of related short stories, each one witty, poignant, and carefully drawn.

It also serves as bracing lesson, not so much about "homelessness", but about how even an uncommonly intelligent and capable, if somewhat non-standard, person can slip through what's left of our social safety net and end up on the street. As Eighner tells it here, if it weren't for a couple of strokes of random good fortune, he would not have been a position to put a roof over his head again, much less publish this book.

For those wondering what Eighner is up to now, he's still writing. Examples of his recent and not-so-recent work can be found on his website, which can be easily found by putting "Lars Eighner" in a search engine. As for the reviewer who felt cheated because the book did not offer sufficient details of Eighner's sex life, there's a link to Eighner's erotic writing on the site as well -- that ought to satisfy your cruelly frustrated needs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Really Provides a Different Perspective
This book was very interesting. It totally deconstructs dominant ideas that most people have concerning the homeless. Very rich in detail and was a pleasure to read. ... Read more


149. A Circle of Sisters: Alice Kipling, Georgiana Burne Jones, Agnes Poynter, and Louisa Baldwin
by Judith Flanders
list price: $27.95
our price: $19.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393052109
Catlog: Book (2005-03-30)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 41139
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Book Description

"Drive[s] a four-horse chariot through the nineteenth century....I have enjoyed this book more than I can say."—John Julius Norwich

The Macdonald sisters—Alice, Georgiana, Agnes and Louisa-started life in the teeming ranks of the lower-middle classes, denied the advantages of education and the expectation of social advancement. Yet as wives and mothers they would connect a famous painter, a president of the Royal Academy, a prime minister, and the uncrowned poet laureate of the Empire. Georgiana and Agnes married, respectively, the pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones and the arts administrator Edward Poynter; Louisa gave birth to future prime minister Stanley Baldwin, and Alice was mother to Rudyard Kipling. A Circle of Sisters brings to life four women living at a privileged moment in history. Their progress from obscurity to imperial grandeur indicates the vitality of 19th-century Britain: a society abundant with possibility. From their homes in India and England, the sisters formed a network that, through the triumphs and tragedies of their families and the Empire, uniquely endured. 16 pages of illustrations. ... Read more


150. Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton
by Barbara Olson
list price: $27.95
our price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895262746
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Regnery Publishing
Sales Rank: 81976
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Hell to Pay is yet another book on Hillary Rodham Clinton, this time from a conservative lawyer who served as the Republican chief counsel for the congressional committee investigating the Clintons' involvement in "Travelgate" and "Filegate." Barbara Olson traces the now familiar biographies of the president and first lady, contending that Mrs. Clinton is someone with dangerously liberal, even radical, political beliefs who "now seeks to foment revolutionary changes from the uniform of a pink suit." (Olson plays the theme heavily: each chapter of Hell to Pay begins with quotes from Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, which influenced the young Hillary Rodham.)

There are some interesting new tidbits scattered throughout the book, like the fact that after law school Hillary Rodham tried to become a Marine Corps officer but was turned down; or that she told her high school paper her ambition after high school was "to marry a senator and settle down in Georgetown." Olson, attempting to dissect the mystery of the Clinton partnership, writes, "Most self-respecting women would have left" after Clinton's repeated infidelities. "Hillary chose to stay. She behaves as both a desperate lover, and like a frantic campaign manager protecting a flawed candidate.... Hillary, it seems, long ago accepted Bill Clinton as someone who could advance her goals, as a necessary complement to her intellectual cold-blooded pursuit of power." As the Clinton presidency draws to a close, that pursuit has taken her beyond the White House toward a bid for her own U.S. Senate seat. Olson predicts the Senate won't be enough, just the next step toward becoming the first woman president: "Hillary Clinton seeks nothing less than an office that will give her a platform from which to exercise real power and real world leadership." While Olson admits that "Bill Clinton has always excited the greatest passion not among his supporters, but among his detractors," the same could certainly be said of his wife--whose supporters will probably consider Hell to Pay a rehash of a too-familiar story, but whose detractors will no doubt savor every page. --Linda Killian ... Read more

Reviews (162)

5-0 out of 5 stars AS A "FIRST-lADY" SHE LACKED THE CHARISMA AND STYLE!
Not being an American, it may be a little easier to look at Hillary Clinton in a completely objective manner. Based on my knowledge and experience in psychology and considering what has been publicized in the media throughout the "Clinton affair", I must agree with what Barbara Olson has written in this book. One could watch the television and see Hillary and Bill standing side by side, all smiles for the benefit of the media and easily see they were superficial. At times, the lack of emotion and stilted conversation reminded me of two Barbie dolls - Ken and Barbie at their finest.

While Ms. Clinton may have stayed with her husband out of love and loyalty, the real reason appears it was to feather her own nest for a political career - at any cost! I give the woman credit for pursuing her own dreams, goals and desires, but most women would have placed their own self-respect at the top of the list. A woman might choose to forgive one spousal indiscretion out of love and family, but how one could love someone who was continually unfaithful is another matter. Were there perhaps more skeletons in Ms. Clinton's own personal closet that have not become public? Ms. Clinton does not appear to be a woman lacking self-confidence or emotional security; therefore, one is left to question whether her true reasons for staying were for self-serving purposes, that is, to further her own political ambitions.

Barbara Olson obviously spent an enormous amount of time and energy in researching the facts in this book and has given readers a bird's-eye view of what makes Ms. Clinton tick and what does not. Whether the reader agrees with Olson's portrayal of Ms. Clinton is a matter of personal opinion. This is a compelling and straight-forward book that cuts no corners and definitely deserving of a five-star rating.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Very Dangerous Woman
This was one of the most educational books I have read in my life. Olson writes a compelling story about Hillary Clinton, starting with her middle-class upbringing in suburban Illinois. Growing up with a house full of men, Hillary felt she had to excel at everything in order to win her father's approval, which she never seemed to get. This was the only time I felt any empathy for this woman.
We've all heard the blatherings about the Clintons' scandals via the media. But the media never came close to telling us the truth, especially concerning their dealings with the Chinese government, who now has possession of our nuclear secrets. Barbara Olson not only illustrates their involvement but gives an unsettling picture of how Hillary Rodham Clinton's mind works. She is a megalomaniac who wants nothing more than absolute power over the American people, especially our children. Olson also gives us the scoop about Whitewater, the Lewinsky fiasco, and scores of other calamaties and injustices that went on inside the White House during their double-term. Basically, the Clintons perfected the Nixonian technique for covering their tracks, destroying a countless number of lies both figuratively and literally.
I would have liked to have read what really happened to Vincent Foster, Ron Brown, and several other officials who met untimely deaths. Olson barely skimmed this issue, but told how Vince Foster was Hillary's lawyer and possible lover. I can understand why Olson couldn't touch that issue, given her position in the Justice Department. But she portrays the Clintons for who they really are, slick criminals who will use anyone and any means to secure their agenda.
I recommend this book to every American citizen, whether they were (or are still) pro-Clinton or not. Hell to Pay is loaded with facts that we cannot ignore.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Real Hillary.
And it's not pretty, but we already knew that. Barbara Olson wrote a top flight biography with "Hell to Pay." I, for one, definitely miss her presence in the field of non-fiction and am sorry she is no longer with us. Many people may not realize that R. Emmett Tyrrell's book, "Madame Hillary," was heavily influenced by this work. Olson exposes the hidden, radical nature of Hillary's worldview. Her thought is far closer to Saul Alinsky than John Jay or Thomas Paine. In the wake of the 2000 election recount, when she came out against the electoral college, who could doubt that she cares little about the institutions or traditions that embody this country. She hides her radicalism behind a bourgeois veneer but Olson allows her true traits to become visible through "Hell to Pay."

3-0 out of 5 stars A lot of good details that you don't hear
I have to say that I enjoyed this review of Ms. Clinton or should I say Ms. Rodham. I don't know how much of this is true but it told a lot of facts that I was unaware.

I did not know that she got her leftist views from a socialist pastor. At least that was the way he came across to me. I thought it was pretty strange that she didn't wear any make up or shave her legs until Bills run for second term as Governor.

The book pretty much takes for granted that everyone knew Bill was a philanderer and does not make much of an issue of it. This is what I like about this book it goes in and tells you all the details of the spending to keep the Clintons in nice homes and have a nanny paid for by the tax payer dollars. I guess politicians are expected to do that.

The interesting parts were about the cops getting Bill girls in Washington, travelgate which they could have avoided completely if they just said they wanted their own people in; filegate was the weirdest after the diatribe Hillary gave about Nixon's enemies list.

An interesting part I thought was her relationship to Vince Foster. How the author got all the information is beyond me.

It showed how Hillary was an absolute perfectionist and could never be criticized. She was very clever in getting her husband off the hook all the time and especially in the impeachment by making them focus on the adultery and then threatening to expose all the congress for their indiscretions.

The more I read the more I felt this woman's hands in my pockets.

If most of this is true, I can not see how she got elected to the Senate, I guess all candidates steal from the cookie jar. I never understood why this woman thought she had a right to rule over everybody else. She was just a tyrant.

I would recommend this book to people want to know more details about all the scandals. If you are a Clinton lover you'll probably say it is all lies.

5-0 out of 5 stars WHY THE RIGHT GOES AFTER THE CLINTONS
The right does not go after the Clintons because Bill lied about Monica Lewinsky. They go after them because they think they may have ordered the murder of Vince Foster. They go after them because kids were murdered on railroad tracks in Mena, Arkansas because they may have witnessed their drug-running operation there in the 1980s. They go after them because there is a list of between 50 and 100 people mysteriously killed, all of whom knew the Clintons and had knowledge of their activities. These people were generally young and in good health. Did they all die by accident? To quote Shakespeare, "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than can be dreamt of in your philosophy." In other words, it is possible they all were killed by means other than the Clintons' ordering their deaths, but it is so far from possible as to be very close to being, for all practical purposes, that with which is impossible. Bodyguards, witneses, drug buddies, state troopers, kids, etc. Dead. If the Clintons are responsible for some or all of their deaths, they got away with all of it. THAT is why the right goes after the Clintons. If I go missing, look in Ft. Marcy Park.

(...) ... Read more


151. A Thousand Days in Venice (Ballantine Reader's Circle)
by MARLENA DE BLASI
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345457641
Catlog: Book (2003-06-03)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 6091
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description



He saw her across the Piazza San Marco and fell in love from afar. When he sees her again in a Venice café a year later, he knows it is fate. He knows little English; and she, a divorced American chef, speaks only food-based Italian. Marlena thinks she is incapable of intimacy, that her heart has lost its capacity for romantic love. But within months of their first meeting, she has packed up her house in St. Louis to marry Fernando—“the stranger,” as she calls him—and live in that achingly lovely city in which they met.

Vibrant but vaguely baffled by this bold move, Marlena is overwhelmed by the sheer foreignness of her new home, its rituals and customs. But there are delicious moments when Venice opens up its arms to Marlena. She cooks an American feast of Mississippi caviar, cornbread, and fried onions for the locals . . . and takes the tango she learned in the Poughkeepsie middle school gym to a candlelit trattoría near the Rialto Bridge. All the while, she and Fernando, two disparate souls, build an extraordinary life of passion and possibility.

Featuring Marlena’s own incredible recipes, A Thousand Days in Venice is the enchanting true story of a woman who opens her heart—and falls in love with both a man and a city.


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Reviews (37)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Enchanted Romance with a Man and a Place
A Thousand Days in Venice is proof that it's never too late to live a dream. The story has a fairy tale quality, yet it really happened: Marlena de Blasi, a chef who is at a bit of a loose end in her life meets a Venetian bank clerk who had observed her before on one of her previous trips to Venice and fallen in love. Throwing caution to the winds, (as she says, "There hasn't been a prudent decision in this story."), de Blasi gives in to her love-at-first-sight response to the "blueberry-eyed stranger" and follows her heart where it leads her. Dispersing her home and possessions in the States, she packs up and moves to Venice to be with Fernando. Their romance and courtship against the backdrop of one of the most romantic places on earth is enchantingly and sensuously told. De Blasi is a master at evoking in word pictures the sights, and scents, textures, and sounds of La Sererenissima.
The adustments, compromises, and mutual discoveries that romance and a new marriage bring into the lives of Marlena and Fernando are related with humor and a sense of wonder at the changes brought about by this unexpected later life event. True to her her passion for cooking, foods and recipes play a part in de Blasi's story. Best of all, she ends her book with a selection of recipes that play a role in her romance so that the reader may extend the enchantment into the kitchen.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful City, A Very Human Story
I've read the on-line debate about this book with pleasure. I understand the conflict, but I come down on the side that says this book is a great read.

I readily agree with those who say the descriptions can be too long and too colorful, and, especially those who say that they could not imagine moving to Venice to marry a "stranger." But, when I finished this book I felt I had spent the last few evenings with a highly entertaining, charming, and impulsive friend. That we had spent the visit talking about life, love, food, and Venice. And, that I wished she could have stayed longer. Not that I wanted to live like her, or agreed with all her decisions, but that listening to her talk was simply fascinating.

I loved the description of small things about Venice, her admission that all in love is not perfect, and her determined, wily temperment.

Take this book to the beach. Use it to spice up a dull week. Read about this woman's flight of fancy. Don't judge her life choices based on practicality or her word choices based on Hemingway. Just relax and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars More than a fairy tale; maybe it's also a parable
Details, the essence of domesticity, shine in this story. There are the travelogue-esque descriptions of Venice: Napoleon's observation about Piazza San Marco and viewing works of art sequestered in ancient churches. There's a discussion of making house, once in the Midwest in a little house I would love to see and again in the grotty chaos of a bachelor's digs. And throughout are delicious descriptions of food and drink and the ways and places to enjoy them.

Like youth, this book may be somewhat wasted on the young. The small ruminations, the reflections on how we find a place and make a place in life may seem over-wrought. Until the onset of my own middle-age, I felt the same way about such memoirs. Now, I greet writings like this with a mixture of recognition and enthusiasm: recognition of the silly ways we fumble along and enthusiasm for another's discovery that it is not too late to savour what is delicious about life. In that, I find a parable of encouragement.

1-0 out of 5 stars ponderous tale of weighty self-reflection
everyone else seems to love this book - the star I awarded it was only in recognition of the wonderful city of venice in which it is set and the not frequent enough references to food and recipes contained therein. for the rest of it - I could have screamed. I think I might have.

Ms de Blasi has a very ponderous writing style - when I finally hit her expression in which I paraphrase she savoured time like an apronful of warm figs, I hit my limit. Every step she takes is weighty, every mouthful she eats has depth and every observation she makes she imparts as if burdened with wisdom.

and a healthy dose of self-esteem - we are assured she transferred a grotty venetian apartment into a haven of domesticity and style with a deft hand and some old scarves. After taking such a bold move in moving countries, she then seems to decide enough decisions have been made and leaves every other turn and ramble their life takes to The Stranger, who appears kinda weak-willed and slack jawed and rather irritating after a while.

for venice and an appreciation of food and the role it plays in life, only just enough to get me through the self-satisfied prosey prose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Venice in love
This book captured me from the start. By the end of the first chapter, I was in tears, reading it to my mother, explaining about this amazing true story of true love. Captivating writing by a woman who finds love in a stranger, trusts the fates and jumps head first into romance, and a new life in Italy. Take me to Venice so that I can absorb all the romance this sinking city eminates. I cannot wait for the continuing story of Marlena and the stranger. ... Read more


152. The Story of My Life (Bantam Classic)
by HELEN KELLER
list price: $4.95
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553213873
Catlog: Book (1990-05-01)
Publisher: Bantam Classics
Sales Rank: 21319
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars A STORY WORTH TELLING
I first read this book in 6th grade. I have read it several times in the intervening years, the most recent time being within the past one year.

Helen Keller, blind and deaf since the age of 1 1/2 has offered, in her own words an accounting of her life experience. It is incredible to imagine how this woman, unable to see or hear can give such a strong voice to descriptions of nature. The book is replete with beautiful, articulate metaphors that draw the reader into the world as Helen knew it. One wonders how a person with no language can "think," and Helen provides some clues. During these "dark days," prior to the arrival of her "Teacher," Annie Sullivan, Helen's life was a series of desires and impressions. She could commnicate by a series of crude signs she and her parents had created. She demonstrated early on that she could learn.

I like the way Helen herself takes her readers past that water pump when she learned that "all things have a name." Instead of getting stuck there, Helen takes her readers on the journey of her life to that point.

In addition to having a good linguistic base, Helen also demonstrates having a phenomenal memory. When she was twelve, she wrote a story she believed to be her own. Entitled "The Frost King," it bore a strong resemblance to one written by a Ms. Canby called "The Frost Fairies." Many of the sentences are identical and a good number of the descriptions are paraphrased. In relating this devasting incident, Helen and Annie recall that Annie had exposed Helen to the story some three years earlier and Helen had somehow retained that information. This plainly shows intelligence.

Both the "Frost" stories are reprinted in full, thus giving the reader a chance to see just how amazing being able to remember such a work really was.

Helen describes her work raising money for other deaf-blind children to attend the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston and in so doing, embarks upon her lifelong mission as a crusader for multiply challenged individuals.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Remarkable Woman
I had heard of Helen Keller but didn't really know what she was about.

It's a 5-star overall story. But in terms of language style and story-telling, it's 4-star for me (understandably, it's 100 years ago).

Helen Keller wrote this in her 20s, while pursuing her degree at Radcliffe. So this is not her whole life, but wow.. what an amazing story!

A girl is blind and deaf, and I would probably give up on her. But I'm ashamed of myself for that. Helen Keller was deaf and blind and yet this didn't stop her. She's bright and strong-headed. The power of self-determination combined with the great help from the wonderfully patient teacher in Anne Sullivan opened the door for her. Her desire to communicate with people, and her passion to "be normal" made her who she had accomplished to be.

How did she "listen"? How did she "speak"? How did she write? She did all that and was good at them. Astonishingly unimaginable. And with such a kind heart, she could easily make a more complete person that we "normal" people can.

"Helen sees more with her hands that we do with our eyes."

Simply admirable.

5-0 out of 5 stars Many had to read this
Many had to read this book in school, along with other great and inspiritationl reads such as "The Diary of Anne Frank" or even great fiction like "To Kill a Mockingbird." And the reason I didn't have to read it is probably the one that causes me to like it so much. I came to this book while an adult, after reading something on the Internet about Keller. Fascinated, I delved into her life and all that was around it. Hence, my first foray into her past was "The Story of My Life." This is a remarkable little book regardless of who wrote it, but consider the source and it's absolutely amazing. The sheer precision and depth this book has is just astounding. Yes, it's inspiritational, but besides that, it's one heck of a well-put-together book!

Also, if you are interested in Helen Keller's life, please try two other great reads: The first is a bio by Herrmann which delves more into the minutae of Keller's life, and the second is a work of fiction which has quotes from "The Story of My Life" at the beginning of each of its chapters. This book is called "The Bark of the Dogwood," and while it's pretty shocking and steamy in places, it ultimately takes it's inspiration from Keller, along with a host of other southerners.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yawn
I feel bad for saying this, cause Helen Keller was a fanominal woman, but her book made me want to kill myself out of boredom. I mean seriously, it's page after page of nothing. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK TO SAVE YOUR LIFE!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Where Heart and Depth Transcend the Mind
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A book to read that is of the warmness of soul, an account that conveys love and realness. The body and the mind are only the peripheries, for it is the soul or consciousness that is of the real person. So when the mind is expanded in knowledge and intellect, one can find erroneously enter in it's subjectivity defining such as the real self or one can use such intellectualism as an instrument of the consciousness and view objectively. This then allows the heart and feelings to penetrate, in turn the mind is transcended, one goes beyond the mind to the real inner self. And when this occurs the result culminates in the most beautiful and extraordinary person. Such is the case of Helen Keller.

Her fingers found expression, felt emotion and penetrated the surface into the feelings and depth in the person she encountered, in the words that she read and in the vibrations that she felt. I have read in the East, that consciousness does not come to us solely through the eyes and ears, but when such peripheries are down we can perceive in much more strength through other senses.

"I derive genuine pleasure from touching great works of art. As my finger tips trace line and curve, they discover the thought and emotion which the artist has portrayed. I can feel in the faces of gods and heroes hate, courage and love, just as I can detect them in living faces I am permitted to touch." P. 68

In a letter she received from Mr. Gilder, Helen wrote,

"In a letter he wrote me he made his mark under his signature deep in the paper so that I could feel it." . . . and " I feel the twinkle of his eye in the handshake." P. 75

Case in point is that of poetry. What the average school teacher and intellectual defines in art and poetry are the stanzas, the numerical structures and literary criticism. Now this actually destroys such forms of art. But what intellectual, a person that uses their head without the heart can fathom any understanding beyond such? Helen wrote:

"Great poetry, whether in English or Greek, needs no other interpreter than a responsive heart. Would that the host of those who make the great works of the poets odious by their analysis, impositions and laborious comments might learn this simple truth! It is not necessary that one should be able to define every word and give it its principal parts and its grammatical position in the sentence in order to understand and appreciate a fine poem." p. 59

Not only did she find the external world but went to the university and went further in learning and knowledge than most. But it is her understanding and diligence, her positivism and depth that this autobiography conveys.

After reading her account, I can say that if I could love another person, I have fallen in love with Helen.

"Is it not true, then, that my life with all its limitations touches at many points the lif of the World Beautiful? Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content. ... Read more


153. I'll Carry the Fork!: Recovering a Life After Brain Injury
by Kara L. Swanson
list price: $16.95
our price: $14.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933670044
Catlog: Book (1999-12-01)
Publisher: Rising Star Press
Sales Rank: 20091
Average Customer Review: 4.85 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In January 1996, a van speeding through a red light ended the life Kara Swanson had known. She suddenly joined the 2 million Americans who suffer brain injury each year. It was like being thrust into a foreign country with no map, no way to speak the language, no directions home.

"This is the book I wish I could have read when I was first diagnosed with a brain injury," Kara writes. I tried to take the information that it took me months and years to learn and put it into a short, easy-to-read book that would help survivors and their loved ones better understand the process of recovery."

Written with laugh-out-loud humor, candor, and technical input from medical and legal profesionals, "I'll Carry the Fork!" offers inspiration and practical help to anyone dealing with the aftermath of brain injury. Because as Kara says, "Sometimes when your life ends, you don't actually die." ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, informative and humorous story of courage
Kara Swanson's personal story of her struggle with a closed head injury is told with such intelligence, honesty and humor that I could literally envision the experience. It's very hard to put yourself in some else's shoes until you've shared a similar experience. "I'll Carry the Fork" provides the reader with an experience that won't be forgotten upon completing the book. Not only does it serve as a very informative guide to those family, friends, and victims of closed head injuries on the "what to expect" and "how to get the best help", but it most importantly, provides a fantastic feeling of courage and confidence that life does go on and, in fact, can be better than ever before!

5-0 out of 5 stars Courage To Recover
Being a head injury survivor myself, Kara's book, "I'll Carry the Fork" was a turning point in my own recovery. With Kara's ability to put into words, what I had kept in my injured mind, helped me to let go of the feelings of worthlessness. Through her book, Kara helped me laugh at my frustrations and forgetfulness..I learned that to laugh is to heal and see the human side to my perfectionistic past. To read her words, gave me comfort of being understood..and to be understood gave me the courage to recover. "I'll Carry the Fork" expresses everyday challenges for head injury survivors, and changes the focus of feeling defeated by our trauma; to find the strength within us, to accept ourselves as the "chosen people" to teach others, head injury or not, that life is what you make it. Every day is a gift. Kara shows us all that we should be brave, face our fears, and never give up on our yesturdays, todays and our tomorrows. After reading her book, your life, your thoughts and your daily outlook will be changed forever. This is a powerful book. I am a better person because of it. I challenge everyone to read it..enjoy the words of wisdom...then read it again.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for TBI survivors and their family
Kara's realistic, humor filled book is a must for any TBI survivor and their family. I read it and bought two extra copies and then decided to buy one for all our siblings so they can better understand what my husband goes through on a daily basis through Kara's words and experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kara is outstanding and the book is more!
Kara wrote a book that is helpful to those of us who have not gone through this ordeal. She helps us understand what has happened to her and what it took for her to overcome many of the obstacles. Kara did this in a way where we laughed, cried, and rooted for her from our hearts. Good luck to you Kara, I wish you many successes in the future, you deserve them. This book kept me riveted, I read it twice in one night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good for those in denial
This is a basic info book. If you're looking for technical information or further resources on where the hell to go from here this isn't the book for you and your family. However, if someone in your family has suffered a TBI and the doctors are filling your family with the "they should be 90% of her/his old self" this is the book for you. TBI, particularily in those cases where the face is not mangled (e.g. the walking wounded), is deceptive and family members in denial are more likely to hear only the more positive issues involved (e.g. "the short-term memory is somehow intact") than come to grips with the fact that lives are never going to be the same. Prior to getting my parents to read this book they believed that my brother, who suffered a moderate-severe CHI would be fine. With the enduring and simplely structured way this author writes they were able to understand that we will never see the same person we loved but must now come to love the new person and that he will not go back to the 90% the docs promised. Getting my parents to read this book has been the most gentle and effective way to help combat the denial that almost tore our family apart. For those of you out there who understand that TBI takes your old loved one away (regardless of outward appearances) and replaces that person with a new one- this is the book you need to get the other family members to read so that you can lesson your own isolation and prevent the near-insanity that comes with the devastationn of a TBI. Recommended for both family and survivor. Thank you to the author. ... Read more


154. Stepping Heavenward: One Woman's Journey to Godliness (Inspirational Library Series)
by E. Prentiss, Elizabeth Prentiss
list price: $4.97
our price: $4.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1577483421
Catlog: Book (1998-07-01)
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Sales Rank: 7186
Average Customer Review: 4.96 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen!" So begins Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss, the journal-like account of a nineteenth century girl who learns, on the path to womanhood, that true happiness can be found in giving oneself for others. "This book is a treasure of both Godly and womanly wisdom told with disarming candor and humility, yet revealing a deep heart's desire to know God," says noted Christian speaker Elisabeth Elliot. "I do not hesitate to recommend it to men, who need to understand the wives they live with, and to any woman who wants to walk with God. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book EVERYONE should read!
This book has become one of my favorites. I have turned to it again and again for encouragement on what sometimes seems to be a long journey of sanctification. I laughed to myself often as I found Kate, the main character saying and doing things exactly as I say and do them, and cried to see what a beautiful thing into which God can transform our lives. I have enjoyed reading it to my mother, and look forward to one day sharing it with my daughter. I've also given copies to nearly all my friends. As Elisabeth Elliot says, everyone will benefit from reading this wonderful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Spiritual MEAT to chew on........
This book was devoured and pondered deeply. It is a TRUE treasure that everyone should read. Katherine's journal, which begins at age 16, reveals human nature such as it is in all of us. Her life unfolds through the years, and she grows in her trust, relationship, and understanding of the Lord Jesus as a true personal friend - not One who is far off and unreachable. I wish her mother, had written a journal also - that would have been a delight to read ! I will also purchase several copies of this book to give as gifts.

5-0 out of 5 stars You will read it again and again
This book displays the struggles and joys of the female Christian walk. Yet, it is also a very interesting story, not a self-help book. I loved the old english writing, as it is a 100 years old. It is a must have. I have already bought 5 copies to give away and am now on my 6th! If you are a Christian girl or woman and want to learn more about your walk, but this book!

5-0 out of 5 stars She's just like me
This book is an incredible journal of a woman from age 16 until death. She candidly discusses her weaknesses and struggles. Continually I said to myself, "She's just like me!" She gives amazing insight into how God uses the everyday difficulties to expose our pride and selfishness. I was encouraged and inspired. I could read it again immediately. I wanted to underline half the book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational for any age of woman
I began this book not expecting much more than the typical inspriational coming of age of a young girl. I did not get what I expected. This is written in the fashion of a diary from a girl through the 1800's with all the fears, failures, and honesty you would expect to find in a girls diary. The issues she deals with in the book are as relevant today as they were then. Only proving the more things change the more they stay the same. It is an easy book to relate to from her feelings of coming up short in her walk with God to the long spaces between entrys in her diary. Reading and seeing Kate blossom and grow into a woman is an encouragement to anyone who reads it. I highly recommend this for young women ages 15 to late 20s, however it is enjoyable at any age. This is a great book to give to those hard to buy for teen girls. ... Read more


155. Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris
by Sarah Turnbull
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1592400388
Catlog: Book (2003-08-01)
Publisher: Gotham
Sales Rank: 4349
Average Customer Review: 4.41 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The charming true story of a spirited young woman who finds adventure--and the love of her life--in Paris.

"This isn't like me. I'm not the sort of girl who crosses continents to meet up with a man she hardly knows. Paris hadn't even been part of my travel plan..."

A delightful, fresh twist on the travel memoir, Almost French takes us on a tour that is fraught with culture clashes but rife with deadpan humor. Sarah Turnbull's stint in Paris was only supposed to last a week. Chance had brought Sarah and Frédéric together in Bucharest, and on impulse she decided to take him up on his offer to visit him in the world's most romantic city. Sacrificing Vegemite for vichyssoise, the feisty Sydney journalist does her best to fit in, although her conversation, her laugh, and even her wardrobe advertise her foreigner status.

But as she navigates the highs and lows of this strange new world, from life in a bustling quatier and surviving Parisian dinner parties to covering the haute couture fashion shows and discovering the hard way the paradoxes of France today, little by little Sarah falls under its spell: maddening, mysterious, and charged with that French specialty-séduction.

An entertaining tale of being a fish out of water, Almost French is an enthralling read as Sarah Turnbull leads us on a magical tour of this seductive place-and culture-that has captured her heart.
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Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Seduced by Paris
I don't know if Sarah Turnbull author of "Almost French" could be described as 'spoiled' as one reviewer suggests, but I do know that reading the memoir of her years adjusting to life in Paris provides enough proof to allow me to categorize her as 'adventurous' perhaps, 'impulsive', throughly 'enamoured' with her adopted city and possessing that "je-ne-sais-quoi" that gives us pause.

Meeting Frederic while on a journalistic assignment in Bucharest throws a curve ball in Australian-born Sarah's easy-care wash-and-wear lifestyle where getting dressed up means making sure there isn't any caked mud embedded in the soles of her Doc Martens. On a romantic whim, she takes Frederic up on his offer to visit him in Paris, and suddenly Sarah finds herself living in the City of Lights where her honed communication skills become meaningless in the whirlwind of French.

Language is not the sole barrier keeping Sarah outside the proverbial candy store window with her nose pressed up against the glass. She doesn't quite understand the French social situation where quiet mannered restraint is the order of the day. In chapter after chapter of amusing Anglo-Saxon vs. French/Latin anecdotes and speculations, Sarah allows us a sparkling glimpse of her personal epiphanies: how acquiring a dog allowed her otherwise forbidden entry, why wearing sweatpants in the street lowers the standards of an entire city, how she could NEVER eat low-fat again, how the Latin interpretation of the law leads to furtive games played opposite the French authorities, how wording something in seemingly flowery language lands her the money needed to sponser her journalism course and why becoming "almost French" isn't nearly as important as "just being yourself." Sarah is certainly not 'spoiled', she's just a victim of intense culture shock. Her revelations are imparted with a cozy friendly narrative sprinkled with just enough dialogue to imbue each character with some depth. I would like hear more from her in a further book as the shock wears off or new shocks electrify with new situations.

Readers expecting the details of Sarah's personal relationship with Frederic, her future husband, to be spun out like a rich romantic fairytale, be warned; even though the book is subtitled love and a new life in Paris, the love portion remains private; she relates only that they met in Bucharest, connected and suddenly were living together in France. The reader catches glimpses of Frederic as the quintessential Frenchman; the memoir focuses on Sarah's adjustment, not to Frederic, but to his country and its occupants. It makes for charming light reading and is recommended to all who like travel essays and don't mind a change from finding the provincial country idyll to discovering the heartbeat of a city.

4-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, funny and at times also educational.
I am part of a newly started book club. The number of girls attending our dinners vary between 3 and 12, all Australian but me. We had problems choosing a new book last time, but in the end, we settled for "Almost French" by Sarah Turnbull as our third book to read. All member of our book club are foreigners, living in England, so we figured we could and would sympathize with another "expat".

Sarah met Frederic while on a (very late) gap-year in Europe. They had a good time and agreed to meet up in France later. In short, they meet up, fall in love, and Sarah never leaves Paris.

Moving to another country is a massive challenge. You are bound to do all the "Top 10" big no-no's probably within the first 2 weeks. Sarah's portrait of Parisians is hilariously funny, from the snobby shopkeepers, old ladies with their well groomed dogs, uptight cocktail parties where no one really mingles, and unfriendly dinners with Frederic's friends to mention a few.

However, when we discussed this book, we all commented that it was not very balanced - 90% Sarah and 10% the rest. With that ratio, we get to know Sarah quite well. Honestly, she tends to whine quite a bit. We go through the motions with her - lonely, bored and feeling useless and not welcome (I got tired of the author asking over and over and over again "why don't they like me?"). However, her frustration for not being able to speak the language I can sympathize with. I have been in the same situation myself. I studied Spanish in Latin America. Trust me, when you only can speak in present tense with a very limited vocabulary, you sound like an idiot and the conversation dies quickly... But the most pathetic incident is when she realizes that she doesn't actually live in Paris but outside the city limit (defined by the postcode). She makes such a big fuzz about it. I cannot understand the big deal, and how Frederic is putting up with it (and in the end agrees to move) is beyond me...

But there is so much more - what about the relationship, it must have been very difficult for the rest of the people involved, not just Sarah.. Surely, we could have gotten to know the lovely Frederic better, his parents, his friends and the rest of it.

We all fell in love with Frederic. My favorite scenes are when they are pulled over for a minor traffic violation in Paris, and Frederic are trying to pretend to be an Australian. The way he is doing this is to take the jumper off his shoulders and tie it around his waist! I laughed out loud, it is so true! The ever so correct French have their jumpers neatly around their shoulders, and the less formal Australian would just tie them around the waist. The other scene is when Sarah one Saturday morning is running to the bakery to get fresh bread for breakfast. On her way out, Frederic catches a glimpse of her and nearly has a heart attach. "Are you going out like that, wearing your gymnastic pantaloons?" he asks. Sarah completely oblivious to his horror says, "Yeah, I'm just going to the bakery". Frederic says "But, that's not nice for the baker man...".

Say what you like, this book did change my life. I am now much more aware of how I am dressed when I go out, even if I am only getting the newspaper. I even went out and bought a new coat! I swear, I will never again wear sweatpants going to the store. Pants I thought were quite cute earlier are now in the pile "not to be found dead in".

Read the book, have a laugh. I read it in 50 page gulps; it is funny and quite educational when it comes to French etiquette.

5-0 out of 5 stars Will whoever borrowed it last give it back? Please?
Sarah Turnbull, an Australian journalist, takes a year off work to travel. While she is roaming around Europe she meets a Parisian named Frederic, who invites her to visit him in Paris. It sounds like a good idea at the time; she does, although by the time her plane lands at Charles de Gaulle she is beginning to wonder what possessed her to agree to stay with essentially a complete and total stranger.

The visit goes well, though; so well, in fact, that she moves permanently not just to Paris, but into Frederic's apartment. The memoir that follows is a charming and amusing account of two cultures, embodied by two very different people -- the uptight, nattily dressed Frenchman and the casual, easy-going Aussie -- trying to coexist in a small space. He is appalled when she wears her sweat pants to pick up her morning baguette ("But it's not nice for the baker!"); she doesn't understand his sense of humor. This is a happy story that ends with a wedding, but not before the author has myriad battles with the language, countless misunderstandings with the the customs of the place, and some truly homesick spells yearning for Australia.

I found this book laugh-out-loud funny (although I'll admit my reaction may have been a little extreme) because I have spent time in Paris and saw myself very clearly in Ms. Turnbull's language struggles, efforts to get a journalistic career going, and just general befuddlement. I've passed my copy on to some travelling companions who felt the same way I did. But even if you've never been to France, "Almost French" is well-worth reading for the entertainment value alone. The descriptions are apt. The voice is personable and interesting, so much so that by the time you've finished, you'll feel not just that you've visited Paris, but as if you've made a new friend while you were there.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Insightful
Almost French is the story of how Sarah Turnbull, an Australian, moves to Paris and slowly becomes French herself. She covers many of the cultural differences that served as stumbling blocks for herself and anyone else who might find themselves in the same situation. She manages to lift the veil on the reason why Parisians are generally considered rude......the simple fact that they don't know you and that it takes time (alot of time) to build a friendship there. It also serves as an informative eye-opener for anyone who may be considering a visit to France with its abundance of useful information for getting by. Definitely recommended for any Francophile or potential visitors.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not so intimate, or romantic
Sarah Turnbull has written a book that will appeal particularly to people familiar with the typical Australian lifestyle. I found it a well written observation from within the heart of France of the differences between the French and Australian lifestyle and customs. This is not a novel about romance, it is more of a memoir of experiences that stem from a romance, but it does start and end in fairytale style.

I read this book while vacationing in Australia, because it happened to be left behind in the apartment I was staying in, and curiously because I've always had it as one of my goals to learn the French language one of these days.

I found the book an easy read and thoroughly enjoyed Sarah's observations on French culture, in particular their social customs. Being Australian and knowing quite a few French people myself I can empathise with a lot of Sarah's views that stem from the French "amour propre", or self pride that is oft misconstrued for arrogance when it comes to language and social etiquette. Sarah is well in touch with her Australian inner self and the descriptions of events when her boyfriend Fred is holidaying with her in Australia are very amusing. The Frenchman's description of swimming in the surf as being "too violent" had me laughing out loud. I could have left out the Paris fashion show experiences, and her desires to move closer to the centre of Paris for the simple reason that the new postcode would label them with a higher social class status actually appalled me, as it might the "average" Australian.

Sarah does tease us though with here complete steer away from the intimate details of her life. It must have taken a very powerful reflex to want to spend a two week "holiday" with a man she'd met once over dinner a while beforehand. We are left wondering what made the "holiday romance" so successful in the two weeks she spent with him, and subsequently we are also left wondering what Sarah and Fred's recipe for success on the relationship side is. I couldn't help but get the feeling that Sarah has written a book about the side issues that are inevitably associated with the real reason for her desire to live in France, which is of course her lover. The result is a story with a romantic shell but a substance of experience outside of the real driver or purpose for it to be there in the first place.

The book ends in a fairytale style where she walks down the aisle and gets married. And lives happily ever after ? I am sure Sarah and Fred will find out. ... Read more


156. All But My Life : A Memoir
by Gerda Weissmann Klein
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809015803
Catlog: Book (1995-03-31)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 18575
Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on a terrifying journey.

Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life."By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.

Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.
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Reviews (66)

4-0 out of 5 stars Moving account of Holocaust experience
In *All but My Life*, Gerda Weissmann Klein tells us the story of a young girl forced into the events of the Nazi Holocaust. The story of a family torn apart never to see one another again. The story of Nazi work camps and death camps and seemingly endless inhumanity. Sadly, this story was her own.

Klein provided a heartwrenching account of the events leading from her teens to her adult years. We met her family, lived vicariously through her relationships with friends and neighbors and hoped and prayed the Nazis never capturedd the Weissmanns. But the inevitable occurred.

Over the years that Gerda was a prisoner of the Nazis, we learned of the unspeakable acts the Germans performed. And we cried with Gerda through her experiences. And we finally felt the joy of freedom and the love relationship that ensued.

*All but My Life* should go up on our shelves next to *Schindler's List* and *The Diary of Anne Frank*. It's an absolute must read and a classic. Thank you, Gerda, for showing all of us what must not ever happen again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saved by her boots--and her soul
On the hot June day that Gerda Weissmann left her home for the last time, her father insisted that she wear her hiking boots. Gerda resisted, but an unspoken plea in her father's eye convinced her to strap them on. During a death march from January through April of 1945, those boots saved Gerda Weissmann's life. Many other women died of cold and starvation, but most fell for simple lack of footwear. Her camp sister, with whom she survived the worst horrors in several concentration and slave labor camps, died of exhaustion at a water pump minutes after American liberators freed the women from the march.

Ms. Klein's tale about her boots, screened at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, led me to her book. I wanted to know every detail--although, over the years, I have been privileged to hear many personal accounts from Holocaust survivors I know. Too many still cannot not speak about what they lived through. Millions never had the chance at all. By itself, the silence of the majority makes Ms. Klein's testimony priceless, like every other personal Holocaust chronicle. So does her reminder not to take anything for granted. So does her gem of a soul. Alyssa A. Lappen

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be high school required reading
As a Protestant with German ancestors I wish every high school would require this book. Poetically written with emotional sensitivity this far surpasses 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Catcher in the Rye' that my daughter and so many high schoolers are STILL required to read. This is true, it is historical, it is politcal, it is human, we can learn from it on EVERY level. Not only that we come to love Gerda, the author, in the reading of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reader's favorite book
This book held my attention from page one, until the very end. I actually have read this book( or at least large parts of it) ten or more times. I was so riveted by Gerda's story that I went to my local library to find out MORE about Gerda. She has written a few other books, interesting too, but this is her best. ALL BUT MY LIFE so impressed me that I felt the need to visit the US Holocaust Museum in Washington,DC. I have chosen this book for my book club selection next month, although I really read it the first time about 5 years ago. I was initially concerned that it was not "mainstream" enough for my book buddies, but...we will see. I have read voraciously for my entire reading life, which would be about 40 years or so, and I think this book IS my absolute favorite.

5-0 out of 5 stars impressive... truly.
This book was assigned by my English teacher. The first page, i thought of reading it as a chore. After that, i couldnt put it down. i read the whole thing in two days. It was remarkable!! This showed what the Holocaust was really about. The Holocaust wasn't just about the millions of Jews that were killed- it was about real people being killed, real people losing all hope to live, among Gerda. When liberation day came around, it didn't mean much. The very few survivors still had a life to rebuild. Gerda told her own remarkable story of what happened to her. Gerda goes from camp to camp, hardship to hardship, but learning valuable lessons about life in gerneral on the way. This book deserves way more than 5 stars- everyone should read it. ... Read more


157. The Quilt That Walked To Golden: Women and Quilts in the Mountain West From the Overland Trail to Contemporary Colorado
by Sandra Dallas, NANETTE SIMONDS, Povy Kendal Atchison
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0972121838
Catlog: Book (2004-10-28)
Publisher: Breckling Press
Sales Rank: 2395
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Book Description

Inspiration drawn from letters, journals, historical sources, and—essential vehicles of women's storytelling through the years—quilts fills this narrative re-creation of the history of the West from the time of the early pioneers to the present day. The purpose of quilts and the art of quilting provide a window into the lives of these women, their friendships, and their sorrows. Quilts provided warmth and occasionally served as death shrouds during the gold rush years. They were nailed to the walls and floors of rough-hewn cabins of shanty mining settlements. Quilting bees provided a rare opportunity for female fellowship at the turn of the century. The voice of a masterful storyteller brings to life the heroic and heartbreaking stories of generations of women in this sensitive and artistic portrait.
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158. The Scalpel and the Silver Bear : The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing
by LORI ALVORD, ELIZABETH COHEN VAN PELT
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553378007
Catlog: Book (2000-06-06)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 59817
Average Customer Review: 4.88 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first Navajo woman surgeon combines western medicine and traditional healing.

A spellbinding journey between two worlds, this remarkable book describes surgeon Lori Arviso Alvord's struggles to bring modern medicine to the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico--and to bring the values of her people to a medical care system in danger of losing its heart.

Dr. Alvord left a dusty reservation in New Mexico for Stanford University Medical School, becoming the first Navajo woman surgeon. Rising above the odds presented by her own culture and the male-dominated world of surgeons, she returned to the reservation to find a new challenge. In dramatic encounters, Dr. Alvord witnessed the power of belief to influence health, for good or for ill. She came to merge the latest breakthroughs of medical science with the ancient tribal paths to recovery and wellness, following the Navajo philosophy of a balanced and harmonious life, called Walking in Beauty. And now, in bringing these principles to the world of medicine, The Scalpel and the Silver Bear joins those few rare works, such as Healing and the Mind, whose ideas have changed medical practices-and our understanding of the world.

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Reviews (16)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Scalpel and the Silver Bear
This book explores the remarkable journey of a Navajo women who leaves the reservation to train as a surgeon. It contrasts traditional Navajo practices with those of western medicine and illustrates how one women was able negotiate two worlds at odds with one another. The book provoked me to re-evaluate some of my assumptions of western medicine and heightened my awareness of cultural differences in philosophy of medical care. The book is thought-provoking and inspirational. A quick and easy read.

5-0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK
I picked up this book and I could NOT put it down. What a wonderful journey described here....how she interlocks traditional medicine with Navajo, how harmony and positive spirit is such a process in the healing world. You will not be disappointed with this read. I have shared this with all those close to me. Make it part of your list

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid credentials but too abstract
--Dr Alvord writes about her journeys as a Native American student and physician. The book seems clearly designed for non-technical readers rather than the professional medical community, and there's little medical jargon. She uses her own difficult pregnancy and the death of a beloved grandmother as case studies in integrating Western medicine and Navajo ideas.
--On the one hand, it's worth reading this book just to hear such an inspirational story from such a role model. Dr Alvord tells her story with dignity and courage and she has many good ideas about listening to patients and integrating Balance and Harmony in our profession (although these ideas don't seem as radical or as rare within the medical community as she seems to imply, and I don't think she does anyone a great service by implying they are).
--On the other hand, the authors remained disappointingly abstract, even given the limitations of confidentiality and space. The stories of Navajo healing barely scratched the surface and the book was pretty scanty with practical advice that would help non-Native healers understand Native American patients. I'd love to have heard her perspectives on the magnitude of Native American health problems, how she handled the constant pressures of time and funding, or how she successfully used traditional Native American methods to help manage serious medical-social problems (i.e. alcohol use, diabetogenic diets, family pressures, basic compliance and responsibility issues, etc). In short, I'd like to have heard more about her successes.
--The book's perspective gives a good counterpoint to those who criticize Western medicine as too impersonal/sterile/uncaring/whatever, while they fail to demonstrate how to predictably improve things and still efficiently deliver technically competent health care to people with different levels of motivation and understanding. Western medicine works beautifully in its own niche, but it will be made to work less efficiently if we mess around with the wrong things. Perhaps medicine will improve if we balance the responsibilities of patients to live a healthy lifestyle with the responsibilities of healers to carefully listen to patients and then help them heal.
--This book did not practically help me to do this, so I cannot give it five stars despite my respect for her credentials. I do look forward to a sequel.
--Other books which may be of interest include Blessings (by Dr. A. Organick), The Dancing Healers, and Primary Care of Native American Patients.

5-0 out of 5 stars What We All Want in a Doctor
This book was recommended by a friend, and after I read it, I chose it as my selection for my book club. Living in the Southwest, the insight into Native American culture was especially educational. Alvord seems to confirm what so many of us as patients have been saying for years: give us a doctor who will take the time to get to know us on a personal level and treat the whole person. I would recommend this to men and women, young and old alike! What an amazing woman.

5-0 out of 5 stars Made me homesick!
I can't tell you how helpful this book was to me in gaining insight to myself and my own heritage. I too grew up on the "rez", or the Navajo Nation, not far from where Ms. Alvord grew up. (In fact, I am related to her by clan!) I also grew up half Navajo and half white. This book helped me to understand many of the characteristics and traits that I have and the cultural significance underlying them, as I was raised non-traditionally. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, but especially Native youth, because it shows that anyone can achieve their dream. I am very proud of Lori Alvord for being willing to share her story and show the Western medical world the importance of Native/Indigenous healing practices. ... Read more


159. Funny in Farsi : A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America
by FIROOZEH DUMAS
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812968379
Catlog: Book (2004-01-13)
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
Sales Rank: 4272
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In 1972, when she was seven, Firoozeh Dumas and her family moved from Iran to Southern California, arriving with no firsthand knowledge of this country beyond her father’s glowing memories of his graduate school years here. More family soon followed, and the clan has been here ever since.

Funny in Farsi chronicles the American journey of Dumas’s wonderfully engaging family: her engineer father, a sweetly quixotic dreamer who first sought riches on Bowling for Dollars and in Las Vegas, and later lost his job during the Iranian revolution; her elegant mother, who never fully mastered English (nor cared to); her uncle, who combated the effects of American fast food with an army of miraculous American weight-loss gadgets; and Firoozeh herself, who as a girl changed her name to Julie, and who encountered a second wave of culture shock when she met and married a Frenchman, becoming part of a one-couple melting pot.

In a series of deftly drawn scenes, we watch the family grapple with American English (hot dogs and hush puppies?—a complete mystery), American traditions (Thanksgiving turkey?—an even greater mystery, since it tastes like nothing), and American culture (Firoozeh’s parents laugh uproariously at Bob Hope on television, although they don’t get the jokes even when she translates them into Farsi).

Above all, this is an unforgettable story of identity, discovery, and the power of family love. It is a book that will leave us all laughing—without an accent.
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Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars Review of Funny in Farsi
If you ever wondered what it was like to grow up an immigrant in the United States, Funny in Farsi is a telling story of this experience. Firoozeh Dumas writes a candid account of growing up Persian in America. From her parents adjusting the customs and cultures of America, to the impacts of the hostage crisis on her life in the US, and her own growing up experiences with her family, she paints a picture of how humor helps get through all the tough times.
Although this book is about a Persian family in the US, it transcends culture barriers and tells the universal story of what it means to be an immigrant in the United States and the difficulties that it entails.
Dumas writes an honest account of her life that the reader can relate to. Her poignant language and truthful analysis of life makes this a book that you will not be able to put down.
This is a truly delightful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Lives up to its name--laugh out loud funny!
A book with "funny" in its title already gives readers expectations of being funny--and rightly so, because it lives up to all of its expectations, and I laughed out loud at every page! It's Dumas' witty, clever play on words when she retells her tales of childhood mishaps that makes this book so endearing and easy to identify with. We've all tried to fit in somehow, somewhere and ended up doing exactly the opposite! Dumas manages to take these stories and tell them with such humor, that sad stories turn into absurd ones--providing lots of giggles and laughter on the way. But the book also has tremendous substance, as Dumas writes about her family with love--especially her father, who is the epitome of kindness, and the ultimate lessons she learns growing up in an Iranian family in California. Those lessons of generosity and humanity serve her well through life's ups and downs, and she is able to look back on even the toughest of circumstances with side-splitting humor. I highly recommend this book for anyone that has ever felt "displaced"--and that would be every one of us. Brilliant!

2-0 out of 5 stars verey superficial
I bought this book because I was really craving a book written by an iranian so I could relate to... The book is well written if you want to have some fun laughing at extremely superficial issues about iranians living in the US, but totally lacks a real understanding of the situation. In few words this was a teenager book although I would not even recommend it to teenagers to read

2-0 out of 5 stars Too shallow, even for summer reading
It would have been wonderful if she wrote it to share with her family and friends, but to publish it? There is no substance, it is not particularly funny and it is just plain boring. This book proves that not everybody needs to write a memoir.

I've been married into Iranian family and I recognized a lot of traits she is describing. The book was amusing, at times. However, I would not recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!
This has to be one of the most entertaining books that I have ever read. I am so impressed with her writing, her honesty and willingness to share the story of her life and her touching recollections. Better yet, the story is mixed with humor all along.

When Firoozeh tells a story about financial problems, family issues, discrimination and injustice, she does so with humor and dignity, although you can even TOUCH the pain she had felt at the moment!
In this book, She also talks about some occasional unpleasant traits shown by her family, however it's clear the she loves them and that love shows through. She knows that you can love someone and not like everything that they do.

Reading Firoozeh's book makes me laugh out loud so many times. There are plenty of serious moments but they are all rendered with the remarkable wit of a very funny author, Firoozeh Dumas. Even the parts that should be dull in a biography are worthwhile and interesting.

I consider this book one of the best; I hope that you will too ... Read more


160. Autobiography of a Fat Bride : True Tales of a Pretend Adulthood
by LAURIE NOTARO
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 037576092X
Catlog: Book (2003-07-08)
Publisher: Villard
Sales Rank: 6385
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club tackles her biggest challenge yet: grown-up life.

In Autobiography of a Fat Bride, Laurie Notaro tries painfully to make the transition from all-night partyer and bar-stool regular to mortgagee with plumbing problems and no air-conditioning. Laurie finds grown-up life just as harrowing as her reckless youth, as she meets Mr. Right, moves in, settles down, and crosses the toe-stubbing threshold of matrimony. From her mother's grade-school warning to avoid kids in tie-dyed shirts because their hippie parents spent their food money on drugs and art supplies; to her night-before-the-wedding panic over whether her religion is the one where you step on the glass; to her unfortunate overpreparation for the mandatory drug-screening urine test at work; to her audition as a Playboy centerfold as research for a newspaper story, Autobiography of a Fat Bride has the same zits-and-all candor and outrageous humor that made Idiot Girls an instant cult phenomenon.

In Autobiography of a Fat Bride, Laurie contemplates family, home improvement, and the horrible tyrannies of cosmetic saleswomen. She finds that life doesn't necessarily get any easier as you get older. But it does get funnier.
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Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars Makes you laugh so hard you'll snort
L. Notaro writes for us. Us women who just don't care about shaving our legs everyday, keeping our houses spotless and as long as the pets are fed and we eat at least decent one meal a day in between the candy bars and junk food we'll survive just fine, thank you. I absolutely adored her first book and started this one before I was out of the parking lot of the bookstore. Thank goodness I wasn't driving or it would have been really difficult to turn the pages and remember to signal.
From "mice" to weird neighbors, Ms. Noaro notices and appreciates the truly inane things that make life really interesting and worthwhile. She's the funniest writer I've ever read and I hope she has many more books to come.
Proving there really is someone out there who will love us just the way we are and then actually marry us turns into very
stories.
You know those things you talk about ONLY to your best women friends? L. Notaro writes about those things with wit, humor and a wry sense of good-naturedness about herself as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars very very funny new writer
Notaro is a very promising new voice on the non fiction scene. This book is very funny but not quite as hilarious as her last one Idiot Girls. However that said, I read the book in a matter of days because I couldn't put it down. I kept drawing attention to myself in public places because I laughed out loud so much while reading it.

You don't need to be in the midst of planning a wedding to enjoy Notaro's sharp wit and unique observations. This is a great book to read on the beach this summer.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book sounds familiar
This is a well-written and wonderfully hilarious look at Laurie Notaro's experiences with adulthood, marriage, and children. From finding a good man and marrying him before he gets away, to her insecurities about her physical appearance, this book will keep you rolling with her clever wit and cut-to-the bone reality of middle-aged life. Everything about this book reminds me of a very special woman who, regrettably, is no longer in my life. If I didn't know better, I would have thought she had written it herself.

5-0 out of 5 stars amusing though gross
Despite the title, Laurie Notaro writes more about her life during the first years of marriage than just what leads up to her wedding (although that too is pretty funny.) In fact, her nephew Nicholas is born and ages to three years or so as the stories progress.

I am amazed how many of these memoirs begin with "something smelled bad." The visual picture she paints of these stinks made me want to throw up. Same with all the mention of anything that had to do with feces, both animal and otherwise. There was more mention to poop and vomit thgan a Ben Stiller movie.

Still, she's funny and a great writer. It's entertaining fare for a few hours of commuting on the bus or train.

5-0 out of 5 stars the funniest book.
I related to so much of what she said. This woman is funny. These stories are short, so if you are pressed for time they are perfect! Nothing is sacred here, she is direct and honest about her life and the hilarity that ensues from her wedding to gyn visits.
Best book I have ever read, no kidding. ... Read more


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